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Colm Lauder, Deputy Secretary General addresses the EESC

JESC Project for Active Citizenship EESC: January 31, 2013 Brussels This morning, I had the pleasure of addressing a gathering of the European Economic & Social Committee and the Jesuit European Social Centre at the EESC Building in Brussels. The topic of the conference was "Active Citizenship" and was held to present the breakthrough JESC paper "RENEWING EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP IN A TIME OF CRISES". As Deputy Secretary General of YEPP, I presented a number of key YEPP efforts to support active citizenship amongst the youth of Europe. Several campaign examples were used with particular emphasis on our Bucharest campaign "Save ERASMUS". I also highlighted new YEPP proposals to develop a campaign to 'reconnect' the citizen with Europe and her Institutions. Details of this will follow in the coming weeks.

 

Last week was a good week for Greece. Here is what happened:

- Credit rating agencies upgraded the economy by 6 degrees, after a record of consecutive downgrades for 2 years now.

- The European Central Bank is buying again state bonds from Greece.

- A Greek billionaire, blamed for tax fraud of 701 million euros is arrested and actually in jail. So is the former minister of defence for abuse of public money.

- A new bill for a much faster jurisdiction system was introduced in plenary.

- A “villa” occupied for 20 years by anarchists, used as an asylum for rioters and their illegal material, was finally recuperated by the police.

In other words, the state seems to work as it should. It is not anything to cheer about, but the first steps of recovery are always the most powerful ones. And the hardest to take. Getting Greece out of the ciris is probably one of the most challenging tasks that a politician ever took worldwide. Antonis Samaras won the election amid criticism, disbelief, distrust, cynicism for the future of his government and the country. Everyone started talking about a temporary solution, with one more Prime Minister that promises a lot and won’t be able to deliver.

 

YEPP sent 15 delegates to participate in a transatlantic youth conference at Princeton University, New Jersey from December 6th to 9th 2012.

It sought to expose academics to politicians and encourage the exchange of ideas among future global leaders. YEPP participants took part in all nine workings groups each of which produced a report or policy proposal. Our YEPP representatives firmly took the lead in these groups sharing their extensive experience with their counterparts. The reports produced will be published on behalf of Princeton University and presented to political channels in Washington D.C. and Brussels.

A summary of the working groups follow below:

1. "Entrepreneurship in Europe." Chair: Sonya A. Hadzhieva

 
Benedict Poettering Junge Union European Youth Parliament Princeton University

At the European Youth Parliament at the Princeton University the participants of the working group EU-US Security: Assessment and Relations worked on a the topic of cyper security and its challanges in the 21st century and beyond. The WG prepared a policy proposal. The group consisted of people from the US, Germay, Italy, Sweden and Lithuania. YEPP people but also a Soicial Democrat where part of the group. We had interesting lectures and discussions with Princeton Professors like Prof. Wolfgang Danspeckgruber who is an expert on foreign policy and the Founding Director of the Lichtenstein Institute on Self-Determination who gave a impressive lecture on how strategic events can have a strong impact on the security architecture of states. Prof. Andrew Moravcsik as expert for US Politics and International Affairs was also available for a discussion with us.
 

 

Relating to the latent threat to freedom in the Middle East by radical Islamic terrorist organi-zations, Junge Union’s federal chairman Phillip Mißfelder MP states the following:
“The security of the state of Israel and its citizens are subject to a permanent threat from radical Islamic groups, who have openly called for the destruction of the Jewish State as a priority objective. More than 1,600 rockets were launched from Palestinian territory by terrorist groups toward Israel in the last year alone. The launch of two rockets fired by the Hezbollah in south Lebanon toward the Israeli capital Tel Aviv has just recently been prevented. This reveals Israel’s security threats and exposure to attack on multiple sides.
Radical Islamic Hezbollah verifiably uses the legal position in Europe to acquire money for ter-rorist activities and prepare attacks. In this regard, European states can no longer sit idly by! Therefore, the Junge Union calls for Hezbollah to be named on the EU list of terrorist organiza-tion, in order for the international community to boycott the group and deprive its financial base. Germany must seize the initiative and demand a collective position of European states against terrorism and against hate directed at the State of Israel.

 

Dear Mr. President, Dear Friends,
 
In the past two years, EPP encouraged us to put forward new ideas. This was an opportunity YEPP could not let pass. So instead of a regular report full of self-appraisal, allow me to raise some political aims we should write on our flag in the coming years.
 
The first expression on the flag should be –not surprisingly- job creation. Further efforts are needed from our side. Especially as youth unemployment reached an alarming rate. We would like to see the extinction of newspaper titles about the jobless and lost generation. To achieve that, the legal burdens on labor have to be reduced by all means, while education systems should be more adjusted to the real demands of the market.
 
The second priority on the flag is debt reduction. We would urge EPP to continue to commit itself to further reduction of public debt, since this is another significant obstacle to Europe’s economic recovery, sometimes putting unbearable weight on our citizens, young and old alike.
 
The third word on our flag should be demography.  We have to put this issue back in the mainstream of the agenda. Maybe it’s a bit blunt, but with the current low birthrates, our countries cannot expect lasting economic stability and security. The protection of families therefore deserves a unique attention.
 

 

 
Speech by YEPP Deputy Secretary General, Colm Lauder, to Junge Union's Deutschlandtag 2012 on Saturday 6th October 2012 in Rostock, Germany.
 
Sehr geehrte damen und herren,        Liebe freunde.       Dear Friends,
 
It is a great pleasure to address you here at Deutschlandtag in Rostock. I am delighted to get the opportunity to address you not only on behalf of the Irish government party, Young Fine Gael, but on behalf of Europe’s largest and most influential political youth organisation, YEPP. An organisation that proudly had Junge Union as founding members in 1997.
 
As you will know, YEPP celebrated our 15th Anniversary in 2012, 15 years with Junge Union at our core. 15 years of working together. This process is ongoing and we are delighted to be here in Deutschlandtag with fellow YEPP Board members Sara from Sweden and Junge Union’s very own Benedict Poettering – whom I warmly congratulate on his election as Vice President of Junge Union on behalf of YEPP.
 
Our role, as young European politicians and innovators has never been so important or influential. The ideas and policies of old have in many cases failed the youth of Europe. Our leaders in Brussels, Dublin or Berlin have given us, the youth, a listening ear to put forward our ideas and our policies. That is an opportunity that I know Junge Union has seized upon, and YEPP has been no different.
 

 

Last week i had the chance to represent YEPP as a guest speaker to the EPP Workers Group Seminar in Poitiers, France, the city of the famous "Futurescope". François Fillon, former Prime Minister of France and Stephan Pfluger from the Eurogroup were also in the panel and we had the opportunity to exchange some interesting thoughts on unemployment. Speaking from a youth point of view, the skyrocketing unemployment rates among young Europeans, i tried to bring up all our proposals for a pan-european solution and thoughts that we debated for Lisbon's White Paper. It was very positive to see MEPs, high-level advisors and researchers to agree with most of our demands. 
 
This was just one of the few examples of YEPP being part of the public debate in the last months. Our input, our ideas, our contribution finally pays off. Not just on unemployment but in all fields that affect the youth in today's crisis. Better education, economic growth, new opportunities are just a few goals that we are after. We are not the ones asking for "Youth Guarantees", we are the ones asking for an opportunity to succeed. When all the doors are closed by the crisis keys, we think it's time to open windows and look for alternatives. 

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